Initial Teacher Training
The Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance is the only Primary specific teaching school in the City of Bristol. We work with the majority of Bristol primary schools and therefore have an invested interest in ‘growing our own’ teachers through spotting talent and potential; we are able to coach and nurture our trainees towards employment in local schools as highly sought after and highly skilled teachers. Since 2014, we have supported more than 100 teachers to enter the profession.
We have an exceptional employment rate – the vast majority of teachers training with us secure teaching posts for September.
Historically, training days have been based at Ashley Down Primary School, one of the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance schools, with placements in a range of schools across the city and beyond, including our Alliance schools. From September 2017 we moved our training venue to Whitehall Primary School which is also part of our teaching school alliance. Now based at Bishop Road Primary School, we continue to work with many other schools in the city!
We offer two high quality and highly regarded school direct routes into primary school teaching.
Sign up to come along to one of our information sessions
Why not sign up for our next open event where you can meet us informally and find out about our programmes?
Please note: We are still running open events at present, and these will be online until further notice while schools are closed to visitors.
Our open events are listed below: do scroll down the list to choose a date to suit you. Please register for a place if you wish to find out more.
Which route is right for me?
There are two types of School Direct training on offer through the Alliance: a salaried route and a Post Graduate PGCE school based route.
It is important to identify the route that best suits your needs: see our flowchart and further information below.
Find out more about the School Direct PGCE route here
What is the School Direct: (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) PGCE route?
The School Direct (PGCE) route offers a mix of a traditional PGCE at a university, with school-based learning across the Alliance partner schools and additional support and training through the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance. This highly popular route enables you to draw on the expertise of your home and placement schools, dedicated class mentors, your own university tutor, the Alliance lead for Initial Teacher Training and Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) from across the city over your one year of training. Led by our teacher training lead, together this group organises and manages your programme. This is not a salaried route so normal tuition fees apply. However, you can apply for loans and living costs as you would with an undergraduate degree course, even if you have had loans before. Additional funds are available for people in certain groups, for example if you have dependants or have a disability.
The Alliance works in partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE) for the PGCE route and some of your time is spent there. This programme has an academic element, with regular assignments across the year. BPTSA and UWE have a strong partnership which makes this a very successful route into teaching.
When working with us, you will learn in small groups of 20 or less, with training sessions run by the best teachers and educators at the cutting edge of practice, from highly successful schools. We will also work closely with you to organise your placements, and you will receive a high level of support from us throughout your training year.
Find out more about the School Direct Salaried route here
What is the School Direct Salaried route?
School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route into teaching. Those applying for this route should already be employed by a school, with the intention of stepping up their role to continue working as a teacher in their current setting. As this is a salaried route, applicants will need the financial backing of the schools in which they are working. The salary paid by the school will be that of an unqualified teacher, point 1, and the school will also pay training costs. There is an additional fee for those wishing to obtain a PGCE qualification in addition to QTS.
The programme is validated by the CLF institute (SCITT) where your sessions will be delivered – these are usually at the CLF Institute, Russell Town Ave, Redfield, Bristol BS5 9JH – near the centre of Bristol. You will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on successful completion of the programme.
You will have two school ‘placements’ in two Key Stages – in both your lead school and for at least a term in a contrasting school with a different age range. In both placements, you will share a class of children and build up your percentage of teaching from day 1, to around 80% of the timetable by June. You will have a school-based mentor and regular developmental visits to give you the best possible start to your career. The Alliance offers a supportive, friendly yet challenging salaried route where you are made to feel part of the school team whilst you are training.
What qualifications do I need?
Before you can take up a place on a School Direct route (or any route into teaching) you are required to have a second or first class degree, you also need to have passed English, maths and science GCSEs (or equivalent) in at grade C / 4 or above.
If you have GCSE equivalents listed by the Department for Education, e.g. O levels, or successfully passed tests via www.equivalencytesting.com or certain overseas qualifications you can also train. For overseas qualifications, you will need to check equivalence with an organisation such as NARIC. All qualifications need to be in place by the start of the programme.
We would also strongly recommend some voluntary or paid experience in a primary classroom before commencing the programme.
There is no longer a requirement to pass the QTS skills tests in English and Maths.
How to apply
The application process is through UCAS for both the salaried and PGCE routes: Click here to find the pages on the UCAS site
All courses will be available to view on the UCAS site from September and the applications open in October in readiness for intake in the following September.
If you are keen to train as a teacher with us, please apply early, as the places fill up very quickly!
We close our application rounds when our places are filled.
If you wish to apply for a School Direct place with the Alliance (Salaried or PGCE route) then you need to apply for the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance (Ashley Down Primary / Whitehall Primary) via UCAS: our provider code is 1PL.
Interviews take place from December and early into the new year in readiness for the following September intake. When our places fill up, we close our window for application for that year, so you are recommended to apply early – windows for UCAS applications open at the end of October.
If you would like to find out more about bursaries and funding, pop across to the Get into Teaching website.
Queries and questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (Our alliance initial teacher training manager).
If you have any questions about our programmes, do contact Mark Townsend, our teacher training lead to find out more:
Both placements really suited me as a trainee teacher. I know that it was taken into consideration the type of school I wanted to work at and who my mentors would be. Thank you for everything – I will forever be grateful!
Hiba Yuusuf (School Direct PGCE)
Newly Qualified Teacher
I feel like I had real support and guidance working with BPTSA. There was also an instant camaraderie between our group of School Direct trainees. Sessions were well planned and organisation with UWE worked well. Both of my class mentors were amazing and I had a lot to learn from them! My tutor was so supportive and encouraging.
Stanlee Uy (School Direct PGCE)
Newly Qualified Teacher
Amazing, I feel like I know I can be a great teacher with all of the training I have had. I’ve never felt out of my depth – Mike and Mark both accept all types of experiences and allow us time to discuss them within our session. I always come away from every session excited to use all of my new tools! Thank you so much!
Kate Kelly (School Direct salaried)
Recently Qualified Teacher